Chance to see rare Raymond Briggs works in new exhibition on The Snowman creator

Olivia Ahmad Artistic Director for Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at the exhibition which opens at Bowes museum tomorrow Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT
Olivia Ahmad Artistic Director for Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at the exhibition which opens at Bowes museum tomorrow Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

A new exhibition which opened at the weekend reveals the secrets behind some favourite childhood stories.

Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective runs at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, until February 26.

The touring exhibition from the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration features works never shown before in the north of England.

Raymond Briggs (1934-2022) is best-known for silent picturebook The Snowman (1978), but over a 60-year career, he created illustrated books on themes from family relationships and grief to social mobility and political satire.

This exhibition includes work from Briggs’ pioneering titles, including The Snowman, Father Christmas (1973), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) and autobiographical graphic novel Ethel and Ernest (1998). On show are his drawings, hand-lettered typography and page designs from his earliest commissions to his 2004 book The Puddleman.

 

Olivia Ahmad Artistic Director for Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at the exhibition which opens at Bowes museum tomorrow Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT
Olivia Ahmad Artistic Director for Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at the exhibition which opens at Bowes museum tomorrow Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Olivia Ahmad Artistic Director for Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at the exhibition which opens at Bowes museum tomorrow Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

 

Co-curated by Nicolette Jones and Katie McCurrach, it features original illustrations courtesy of Raymond Briggs’ Archive and Penguin Random House.

The exhibition is accompanied by an events programme which includes a special performance at Durham Cathedral of The Snowman including Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas accompanied by a live orchestra on December 21.

A joint competition is being launched on December 1 with a closing date of December 18 for a chance to win tickets to see the performance and get entry to the museum, exhibition and a Christmas lunch at Bowes for two adults and up to four children.

There will be Raymond Briggs themed events running throughout February half term, with activities based around his colourful characters, including a family fun day on Saturday, February 25.

The museum's volunteer guides have been recognised as among the best in the country, having been highly commended in the MARSH awards, which acknowledge the contribution of volunteers across the UK.

There are currently 23 guides at the Bowes Museum, some of whom have been volunteering for more than 20 years. They run daily tours for visitors from April to October as well as specialist tours for coach trips, WIs, arts societies, U3A and other groups.

 

From left, Dorothy Brenkley, Sue Fielder, Ray Morris, Tom Carr, Joyce Jackson and Anne Roberts, volunteer guides at the Bowes Museum
From left, Dorothy Brenkley, Sue Fielder, Ray Morris, Tom Carr, Joyce Jackson and Anne Roberts, volunteer guides at the Bowes Museum

From left, Dorothy Brenkley, Sue Fielder, Ray Morris, Tom Carr, Joyce Jackson and Anne Roberts, volunteer guides at the Bowes Museum

 

Volunteer guide coordinator, Ray Morris said: "This acknowledgement is a great testament to the dedication and knowledge of our volunteers. We are really pleased to have been recognised in this way and I'm sure this prestigious accolade will add to the pride our volunteer guides already get from enhancing visitor's enjoyment of this wonderful museum."